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Why You Should Say 'No Thank You' to the Free Piano

April 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 192

You've been offered a free piano, but should you take it? For most parents searching for a piano for the first time, a free piano sounds too good to be true. And often, that's exactly what it is.

When my daughter first began playing piano, she did so on my old digital keyboard, a 10-year-old Christmas gift that had been gathering dust in my son's room for two or three years. She picked it up and carried it to her room and began playing something that sounded remarkably, well, like, music. Like any proud, yet unrealistic, parent, I rushed out to immediately find her a piano teacher. The one minor problem? We didn't own a piano.

"Don't worry," said her piano teacher. "It's fine for her to work on the digital keyboard for now. In a few years if she sticks with it, you can buy a piano." Imagine my horror when it turned out my child was actually good, and the piano teacher turned to me and said the time to purchase a piano was now. She gave us the name of a reputable store owner in the area.

Now I should let you in on the fact that I have in the past been privy to some free pianos scenarios that didn't work out well for the recipients. My sisters decided to take two pianos offered by a local college that were quite impressive looking, and quite old. They sat for a number of years in my parents' home, after both sisters laid out the cost of having them moved there. Many piano tuners were contacted and each came, took a look at the pianos and left sadly shaking there heads after offering no hope for a piano rebirth but making suggestions of perhaps keeping them as pieces of furniture. And there they remained, interesting dust collectors until my parents had enough and insisted they be carted away.

Knowing all this, I of course, contacted the dealer, asked about rent-to-own programs, the cost of beginner level used pianos, trade in options for future growth, and got completely sucked in when a mutual friend suggested we might want to take the piano she was trying to get out of her house. As we made plans for where we would put it and when we could go take possession of said piano, my husband kept the presence of mind to contact a couple of dealers.

As it turned out, my supposedly "free" piano would cost me about $300 to move to my home, $200-$300 per tuning session, of which with a piano that hasn't been maintained would require two to three separate tuning sessions. So I would end up paying $900-$1,200 for a piano the current owner didn't think was good enough to try and sell. When I could get a well-maintained, step above beginner piano for $1,799 at the dealer. And the dealer would apply most of that money back, when or if we needed to upgrade the piano to a better model if my daughter was any good. Uh oh, I'm sensing a trend here. Maybe I should have said no to the piano lessons, not the piano.

C. J. Mackey is a working mother of three, balancing a full time career while taking an active role in her children's lives. She has an advanced degree in engineering and over twenty years making technology decisions for fortune 500 companies. For more information you can visit our website at

Source: EzineArticles
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